CAIRO - Officials from the Vatican and Al-Azhar on Wednesday condemned the reprinting of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed considered offensive to Muslims.
Sheikh Abdel Fattah Alaam, chairman of Al-Azhar (Sunni Islam's main seat of learning) Dialogue Committee and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, wrapped up a two-day meeting in Cairo on dialogue between the monotheistic religions.
In a joint statement, they "strongly condemned the republication of offensive cartoons and the rising number of attacks against Islam and its Prophet."
They stressed that "freedom of expression (should) not be taken as a pretext for offending religions, convictions, religious symbols and everything that is considered sacred."
At least 17 Danish dailies last week reprinted a drawing featuring the Prophet Mohammed's head with a turban that looked like a bomb with a lit fuse.
Muslim campaigners complain against double standards when dealing with freedom of speech issues, citing examples where non-Muslims have laws to protect them from offensive publications.